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tv   Hearing Examines Efforts to Reduce Wildland Fire Risk  CSPAN  August 3, 2017 10:03am-12:00pm EDT

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>> good morning. the committee will come to order.
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looke here today to take a at wildfires, to examine our wildfire management program, the collaboration that is what iron ,o reduce risk to firefighters communities, and resources and some of the emerging technologies that are changing the way that fires are managed. are now well into the 2017 fire season. it is certainly a very active one. think,nd from montana, i is going to share some of what is happening in his state this morning. i think it is appropriate to recognize the heroic acts of the men and women who fight these fires throughout the season. the firefighter from montana. >> i will talk about it in my we lost at firefighter last night in montana. it is our second fatality in two
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weeks. >> know that our hearts and our prayers are with the families but again, this speaks to the realities that we face with our wildfires and are fires around the country, that this is dangerous and unpredictable work. our thoughts and our prayers are with those who are serving. as of august 1, nearly 39,000 fires have burned almost 5.5 million acres of land. for comparison, this is an area about the size of the state of new hampshire. low fire, we have a year this year, 300 fires burning 600,000 acres. it is a lot of land but it is below normal for us, so we are certainly not complaining. 2015, 5s ago, in
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million acres burned in alaska alone. from the state of alaska, they understand this all too well. 2016 was one of the worst years on record, burning over 10 million acres in total. this committee has spent a lot of time and a lot of good work working on legislation to address the consequences of wildfire. we will continue that work until we arrive at legislative solutions, hopefully sooner than later. what we need is a comprehensive solution that addresses wildfire budgeting and forest management. we need to tackle both of those at once. because we know the wildfire problem is not just a budgeting problem but a management problem. ranking member senator cantwell along with senator rich gave us a
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government of solution, the wildfire response and forest management act. our proposal included a fiscally responsible fix to permanently and the destructive practice. we require congress to provide resources to the agency upfront, enough to cover 100% of the annual cost of firefighting over the previous 10 years while allowing for a limited cap adjustment when we experience catastrophic years. our proposal took steps to address the hurdles that stand in the way of incrementing the treatment needed to mitigate wildfire risks, increase firefighter safety, and make our forests more healthy and resilient. use ofd increase the technologies such as drones and gps trackers and fire risk mapping and make needed investments in community wildfire protection plans as well as fire watch programs. needs toire strategy
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include all of these important pieces of the management puzzle and we know that other members on our committee also have ideas that need to be considered. our hearing today is focused on oversight of wildfire management programs and the use of technology. our goal is a good bill that so thex these problems president will be able to sign this into law. we came up short in the last congress but as we will hear today, fires continuing to destroy our lands is a lot more that we could do. there is a lot more that we must do from budgeting, to new technologies, to better management practices to save them. i want to thank our witnesses for being here today and particularly extend my appreciation to alaska's state forester. with that i will turn to ranking member cantwell. >> thanks for holding this hearing. before i begin i want to thank the over 12,000 million women who fight iris -- the 12th
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thousand men and women who fight fires in our country. our thoughts and prayers are with those in montana who have lost lives and the firefighters who are continuing to battle the blazes. these firefighters have been working to save homes, communities and people and sure they are always there to answer the call. their diligent work has saved many hundreds of residents already this year. the chair mentioned our efforts in the last congress to work diligently together in a bipartisan effort. i can assure all of my colleagues here that there was no stone unturned, no late-night not visited by sheet, myself, our staff, the leadership in the united states senate. and to make a down payment on what our fuel reduction strategies are for the future. we couldn't quite get there with our house colleagues so any of you who think that you can help us get them to pay attention in
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a more serious way, we would be grateful. we have come together on a bipartisan solution in the united states senate to and fire borrowing and make investments for the future and i certainly hope that we can get the intention -- get the attention to reinvigorate those efforts and pass it when we return later after the summer session. today, we are here to talk about one of the additional tools we can give firefighters. as of today, 50% more acres have already burned this year and yesterday a forecast report was released that protected the weather was likely to experience above normal wildfires over the next month. that shouldn't surprise people since we know what has been trending the last few years. while in the state of washington we have some fires, the rest of the country is seeing even more impact. today's hearing is about the tools that we can give to help decrease the risk of firefighting. i want to thank stephen king
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from being here from washington to talk about the innovative actions the city of wenatchee has been doing. thenow all too well from carlton complex and many other things that impact our state were over 100 million acres burned up in one afternoon, the threat, and how fast these fires can move. sure that we make are giving new tools to firefighters. if we are seeing a new normal, which i don't want to think that it is normal because this is very stressful for all of our communities, but if we are seeing a new increase because of the dry conditions and the abilities for fire to spread in so many more places more quickly, what can technology do to help us address this and make it safer for the future? a couple of approaches that my colleague senator gardner and i have been working on is to be
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making sure we are using new technology to help us deal with fires. that is, for the first time ever, wildfire mapping aircraft. the ability for aircraft to fly use these areas and also unmanned aerial vehicles that would generate real-time mapping where the fires are burning, making gps locators to fire crews available, wildfire today refers to the combination of crew location and real-time fire maps as the holy grail of wildland firefighting. because it improves the safety for our firefighters. this legislation would also encourage federal agencies to take advantage of the tools we have at nasa in order to speed up the planning that goes into effect to prevent after the fire fact of flooding and erosion. these are important issues. i know as we look every year at information working with
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the forest, we know where our hotspots are going to be. are not other spots going to see an impact because you never know when fires will start but it gives us information about where to catch and put resources so they already available -- so they are readily available. we want to do better with real-time forecasting information. in washington, we have a gap in the central part of our state. we do not want to have a region less protected because they don't have accurate weather forecasting information. we want to build on the state of the technology and to make sure that every community knows when and when it should not be sending firefighters out given the weather forecast and the challenges we face. so i agree with the chair. we need to work efficiently, we need to work together, we need to get, as i'm sure we are going
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to hear about, the hasty response approach that has been used in the central part of washington. readys, to have everybody , given the outbreaks of fires in so many locations, to have a hasty response. hasty response to getting this legislation over the goal line with our house of representatives as well. thank you for holding this important hearing and thank our witnesses for being here. our thoughts and prayers are with those families impacted by those fire seasons. >> thank you, senator cantwell. know that my commitments remain to help address this in a way that is going to be more than the jerky way it has been , the borrowing that limits the ability of our agencies to do the work that we need to do. that willan approach yield in during policy, what we
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are looking for here. i am pleased to be able to local the panel this morning. we have good input and i appreciate the time that you will spend with us. by victoriaed off christiansen, the deputy chief for the state and private forestry service and the department of agriculture. mr. brian rice is the director for the office of wildfire in the department of the interior. i have mentioned my friend, the state forester for the alaskan department of natural resources, and he is also here this morning wearing another hat on behalf of the national association of state foresters. we appreciate your leadership. is the economic development director of the city of one at she, washington. -- of wenatchee washington. we also want to introduce dr. miller. i of course want to thank both of you for an incredibly
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important hearing and as the ranking democrat on agriculture and forest tree, i want to work closely with you so we can resolve this so that when we go into the forestry title to focus on prevention and management, all the money isn't transferred over to fight fires. so thank you for that. we have tremendous expertise in michigan and i want to introduce dr. mary ellen miller who is a research engineer in ann arbor. michigan tech, which is actually in the upper peninsula, way up where i was known -- not long ago, getting to know the place. in information technology to solve security, infrastructure, and environmental problems. with the help of nasa, dr. miller has used models and earth observations to predict erosion and run off after wildfires in
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colorado and california. not all of her work is high-tech. she also spends plenty of time out in the field with more low-tech tools like bucket gauges and a bucket hat. thank you for being with us today, dr. miller. we look forward to hearing your unique scientific insight and water shows are impacted by wildfires. thank you senator stabenow. -- tod the plan aloft lead the panel off, we welcome your comments. committee,of the thank you for the opportunity to discuss and collaborate on reducing wildfire risk. after the events of yesterday, the loss of one of our own, our hearts are heavy and we are sending our condolences to our whole community. it is a very important -- appropriate time for this
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discussion. my name is vickie christiansen, deputy chief of forestry for the usda forest service. framed by thel be national cohesive wildfire management strategy. a blueprint for building synergies to address the nations growing wildfire challenges. the three goals of the cohesive strategy are restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes , creating fire adapted communities and and effective risk space wildfire -- risk-based wildfire response. to commission is devoted restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes across all jurisdictions. in the national forest, we achieved 3 million acres of treatment last year. we worked across boundaries with our partners. in 2006, we provided financial support to carry out nearly 150,000 acres of treatment on nonfederal land.
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since 2006, we have assessed more than 3000 of the steel treatments. when tested by wildfire, 90% of these treatments have shown to reduce the impacts of wildfire. in arizona, the field treatments associated with the white mountain stewardship project dramatically slows the rate of spread of the wildfire to allow the firefighters to safely protect homes and properties. the board service collaborates with state and local partners to help prepare communities to withstand a wildfire. this is challenging because of the increasing of element in the wildland urban interface. we work to assist communities in developing community wildfire protection plans. these plans bring community members together to address wildfire response and community preparedness.
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as a risk assessment technology has developed, our capability to help communities reduce their risk to wildfire has really evolved. for example, you will hear more from mr. king about our community planning assistance for wildfire programs. wildfire prevention is a critical element to working collaboratively across land ownership boundaries. nationally, nearly nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans, including some of the most costly fires. if we prevent unwanted human caused fires, we can proactively use our resources to create resilient landscapes, improve our response and help communities be prepared. a long-standing example of federal and nonfederal collaboration is smokey bear. campaign is administered by the forest service, the national association of state foresters and the ad council.
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smokey will be 73 next week and he is one of the world's most recognizable characters. our goal at the forest service is to work with partners to continuously improve our risk-based response to wildfires. no one agency has the capability or the surge capacity to respond to wildfires alone. so we have a collaborative approach in the u.s. it includes federal, state, tribal, city, county contracts and volunteer firefighters. we continue to work with our cooperators and industry on emerging technology to help respond to challenges of fire. the board service invests more than 34 million each year in wildland fire information and technology systems and we work closely with the department of the interior to develop an integrated approach and prioritize our investment to be able to update our legacy systems. the central platform is the
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enterprise portal. the portal provides up-to-date wildland fire situational information to first responders, to fire managers, and the public. they are our research and development ranch. we continue to partner with nasa on new and emerging technologies. we also partner and dli takes the lead on interagency take ability on unmanned aircraft operations. although our missions and priorities among our partners are diverse, we are united in a common vision and set of goals defined by the cohesive strategy. established to collectively address our wildland fire challenges so we can redeem our responsibilities to the citizens of the u.s. thank you for the opportunity to discuss wildfire risks and collaborations. we look forward to working with the committee on these important issues.
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host: thank you. mr. rice, welcome. >> chairman murkowski, ranking member cantwell, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. thank you for the opportunity to talk about the department of the interior's wildfire program. first, i would like to start by saying we in this department are set by yesterday's news of the fatality in montana. the department of the interior's heartfelt condolences went out to family and friends and others affected by those situations. are seeing the cumulative impacts of climate variability, drought, and invasive species that are creating a situation more susceptible to large and devastating wildfires. so far, we have seen outbreaks across the country and numerous geographic areas.
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it working through this, the national cohesive strategy, which my partner alluded to, is the backbone of the national wildfire management policy and is still in collaboration with federal, state, tribal, local, all of the partners and representatives determined by the federal government to actively involved partners in planning decision-making. active management work is done collaboratively with our partners, or done directly on department lands through each of the bureaus within the department of the interior, the effective strategies for mitigating risk. in the department of the --erior's resilience resilient landscapes initiative, partners at the local level on fuel management projects achieved fire resilience across multiple jurisdictions and broad landscapes. this year, the department supported an initiative that valued private landowners, tribal, space, local governments
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and other agencies that work hand-in-hand with the department to safeguard the community. together, we continue to plan as execute these activities well as improving the range landscapes. is important to talk about the advancements in technology that play a critical role in the department fire program. the use of unmanned aircraft system is important in our day-to-day operations. interiors government leader and resource and development and a practical employment for nondefense purposes, currently, the department uses it to support firefighters in the field by mapping the use of infrared technologies and gathering data for strategic fire planning. the department of established fire operation guidelines has coordinated with state agencies as well as developing the specifications for a government owned fleet of ua esses -- ua s
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es. we are discussing their role in future operations including fire retardant and cargo. it may include the use of larger highlighted aircraft. in june of this year, the department announced the expansion of its wildland fire location data sharing service being current wildland fires. available to the public through geo alaska anddopters of texas, other states are added which include wyoming, north dakota, california, and we are expecting others to engage as well. the system is available to the public and informs drone operators in the real-time where not to fly so they can avoid interference with fire operations. another important advancement that is helping improve the departments responsible is the use of high definition cameras with infrared technologies that help spot fires in remote geographic areas across nevada.
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the bureau of land management's fire, camera and network program has joined up with the university of nevada reno's seismological lab. a cameras have been installed on remote mountain geeks and are used for early fire detection allowing managers to shift resources as needed to better manage fires. this is another service available to the public. the data is available. the department acknowledges we have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to fighting fire efficiently and safely. we believe that technology advancements allow a better position to address wildland fire. we look forward to supporting the safety of the firefighters and the public, enhancing our response abilities, and promoting further collaborations with our partners. thank you for the opportunity to discuss the department's fire program and i will be happy to answer any questions you have. >> thank you, mr. rice. welcome, mr. mace.
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>> ranking member cantwell and members of the committee, my fellow council members, my name is chris mace of the alaska division of forestry and president of the national association of state foresters. i appreciate the opportunity to speak on the topics of wildfire risk mitigation and the use of new technology on the fire line. the mission of my division is to serve alaskan's. the division is the lead agency for fire management services at 150 million acres of land with the primary goal of protecting property. my staff works closely with two key partners, the forest tree service and the department of the interior fire service with the latter agency being our main partner in alaska. i would like to address my topic. i am reducing risks to communities and firefighters by walking through how it is created and the floyd on the ground.
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my written statement has included several case studies of projects that were used and actual wildland fire incidents but i'm going to focus on one project in alaska. the process starts with a state action plan, and the key document is the focus on limited resources via a publicly vetted process and state priorities. pp that goesnto a cw into more detail and can be for any jurisdictional unit that works well for the planning process. science-basedde indicators of fuel breaks or other treatments that are appropriate. work is conducted at the landscape level and for individual properties in alaska, in a nexus with usa principles, forrester's experts on working our small landowners and in proposal we encourage landowners to reduce risk.
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this work is cross boundary and follows the strategy of defense and depth. if you are a student of military tactics, you will recognize the outer ring landscapes you'll break and forest management. into individual treatments for individual properties as you move further into the interface. fire at the kenai wildlife refuge along the funny river road by a burnout operation as a man fire approached. if you have written testimony, look at page two figures one and two. for what these treatments look like. the fire log reports the progression of the fire. may 19 at 1600 hrs, the fire was reported, driven by strong northerly winds and by 22:30,
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the fire was seven miles long and three quarters of a mile wide. may 20, the fire rose an additional 21,000 acres and the phase two team takes command. through may 24, the fire increases by 83,000 acres. on may 26, the fire rose an additional 45,500 acres in the burnoutak is used in a operation. refer to page four to see that this operation taking place is the fire line. property values protected were over 250 million dollars in value. the significant test for this type of a fuel break. around the country, there are other examples and there are other case studies cited. one additional product in alaska and two in arizona. it is worth mentioning that last year, 82% of wildfires and 50% of acreage burns were on private land.
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we need to get in front of this problem and continue to provide solid support for the full range of forest reprograms, bfaicularly for the sfa and line items. these create fire adapted defensives, create space and educated the public. briefly address the use of technology and uavs.tive uses of the forest service utilizing a uav during an initial attack fire. situational awareness for the commander and an operational staff as well as becoming a standard tool utilized for several purposes. the addition of an infrared camera to a uav platform shows great promise for assisting mop up operations by identifying heat and the areas being graded in real-time for crew. the written testimony goes into
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theils on joint efforts by toe service and division incorporate uavs into our operation, including training, equipment needs, and the next steps to continue this process. i would like to stress the importance of cross boundary fuels on federal, state, and private land. for protecting communities as well as increasing operational new technologies such as uavs and fire suppression operations, the forest service state and private programs are critical funding sources for these types of activities and as demonstrated in today's panel, states and the rural fire departments are at the forefront of the problem. there is energy need to increase the amount of reports management taking place on several lands throughout the country. there are examples of federal managers arising to the challenge but too often, the
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fuel process delays needed projects. reform is needed to address the problems. another helpful tool is the good neighbor authority which allows state agencies to partner with the forest service to get work done on the ground, improvements in this authority can also be made and that would be based on experience of the 95 good neighbor authority agreements and the 29 states throughout the country. thank you again for the opportunity to discuss these important issues and topics. this concludes my testimony. i would be happy to answer any questions you have. >> mr. king, welcome. >> good morning, madam chairman and ranking member. and members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to come to d.c. and present to you. it is my first time. let me present a little bit of background about my career. i served the city as economic develop an director and 15 years ago, i started performing civil engineering work to design water
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systems for fire response a stone structure loss from the 1992 castle rock fires in which 20 structures were lost. 2015, when the sleepy hollow fires hit our city, we did not run out of water. so that was a successful mitigation effort. the disaster still occurred which tells us we need to look more copperheads of lee on how we address wildfires. testimony today will communicate to you the value of empowering the community to act and the value of implementing risk reduction strategies and to multi agency collaboratives and partnerships. just a little context for when actually. from -- weume we are have less rain forests all around us. it is on the east slope of the cascades, beautiful, but we get 10 inches of rain a year and our communities lie on the downwind sides of the foothills of the
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cascades. the forests give way to shrub step environments and wildfires. i grew up two hours north, just shy of the canadian border next to a retardant based. world war ii trap on fires just about every year. we didn't have a lot of structure loss or impact at that time. there were a few buildings being lost in those events. times have changed. communities have grown. it requires a different approach. my uncle served for 30 years with the okanogan national forest. as a spokesperson. i remember, specifically, two times, he had to deal with firefighter deaths. my heart goes out to the folks around them. in 2013, we had the sleepy hollow fires one year after the carlton fires where 120 people
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were lost. the fires caused the loss of 29 homes and 30 acres of warehouses right in the middle of our community. i was there during the event. i saw the fire turned from a called brushfire -- a calm brushfire and by the afternoon, a troubled over a mile in 20 minutes and houses were exploding. i saw that and watched in horror as a firefighter response efforts were quickly overwhelmed embers leaping from house to house and a two mile jump into the heart of the city. it is hard to imagine as you are in the middle of that. we have structures in downtown and a chemical facility and it was like, oh boy, this went to a whole new level. i will never forget this. and people come to a community, and so keeping that presence, understanding
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that we live in an environment where this could happen is really important. i will talk about how risk mapping helps keep that in the forefront. say thank you for the investment opportunities in the national fire academy for wildfire programs. the chief of our fire department and us have taken up -- that is one of our goals, to be better educated and understanding of the reality of these events. risk mapping. two weeks ago, i sat down with members of the staff from the forest service rocky mount and research station and we did a risk map. there were significant values that come out of that and one of them, as evident last week, was it brings everybody together. agencies have different value sets and that comes out when you start talking about risk mapping
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. and fire behavior. it is a tool for a call to action. mapping lets, risk you simulate the disaster without actually having to go through the disaster. us ons us -- it informs how to implement our codes. oftells us the effectiveness the reduction strategies, such as management. it provides us information on how to protect critical infrastructure like water systems and communication systems. and the technology is changing and will continue to change. there are studies being done right now on ember transports, especially from structures. risk mapping will ultimately incorporate new science and technologies to help us grow and the science becomes available. i just want to come back and stress that our foothills are made up of lands operated by the forest service. ,he department of the interior
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our local nonprofit land trust, our state natural resources department, the city of wenatchee, and the right of property owners. it is paramount that everybody participate in these activities. risk mapping shows the importance of that. one property owner can lose it all if the company doesn't participate. call toin, it is a action, a leveraging tool as well as the technology tool that brings people together. i hope you can see our passion at the city of when actually -- the city of wenatchee and how we are planning to prevent this from happening. i said wildfires will continue to happen and disasters will happen but if we do this successfully, we can, maybe instead of 20 years, it will be 100 years before the next disaster. and it takes this conference of approach to actually achieve that goal.
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i thank you and would be happy answering questions. >> thank you, mr. king. dr. miller? >> good morning chairwoman markowski and ranking member cantwell. and members of the committee. my name is dr. mary ellen miller and i am a research engineer at the tech research institute. my phd is in environmental engineering with a masters in imaging science. let me share with you my nasa post-firerks in remediation. my team has built an online database to combine earth observations of burn severity with process-based model inputs. post-fire flooding and erosion poses a significant threat to life, property and natural resources such as our valuable water supply. as part of my phd program, i worked on a very large scale epa project designed to help plan fuel reduction treatments with
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the goal of protecting our water resources from high severity fire impact. usedthe project ended, i data assistance tools that have been developed to rapidly predict post-fire erosion in colorado. burned area emergency decide whether they need to make remediation plans are not. burn observations of severity are critical in this process but i was surprised to learn from my research colleagues that spatial process-based models were being underutilized. i didn't understand why until 2011 when the national park service asked me to model a small watershed that burned in the rock house fire in texas. it was only 500 acres, and i had previously modeled 75% of the forest so i thought this would
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be easy. i was wrong. texas was not part of the original epa area and it took me over a week to assemble the inputs i needed. i was one day late in getting the modeling so it could not be used in the analysis. a year later in 2012, i modeled 80,000 acres of the high parks fire for the bear team in 2-3 days. the difference between success and failure was simply preparation. i didn't want what happened at the rock house fire to happen again so i am very proud to introduce a new online rapid response erosion database. we are calling it red for short. upload a map to into the online database and within seconds, download all of the properly formatted spatial model input. it was created through a collaboration between michigan tech, the nasa applied sciences
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wildfire program, and the usda forest service rocky mountains research station. data preparation that you to take a week can now be done in seconds. spatial predictions have run off -- of runoff erosion will allow prioritizeo -- remediation. i've seen it used on many major fires. in 2015, the results were used to spatially place $3 million were the woodshed's. and in the kings fire, $1 million worth of mulching in order to protect the hydroelectric water reservoir. d has been used on planning projects for water supplies, including the one in california. includere goals
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expanding special coverage to include alaska and hawaii. red'sld like to improve give abilities to make it even easier. so thank you very much for your interest in fire fighting. research and educational outreach are vital to support our teams. thank you very much and i will be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you, dr. miller. thank each of you. i think we recognize that how we are approaching firefighting, how we are approaching forest changed over the years. when you listen to the technologies that are now available to us, the innovation miller,are seeing, dr. appreciate the research and mapping you are doing there, i think we recognize this got new tools which is great.
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we are dealing across , dealing withies troubled lands, dealing with state and private and federal. it is an example where if you are not working together collaboratively, bad things can happen. committee, for the past 14-15 years, listening every year to where we are with the fire status report and how they are working across agencies, the discussion is always, "we are working together, it is collaborative." but i do think we have made extraordinary gains in doing just that. the cross mentioned boundary fuel efforts. i will direct this question to
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you, miss christiansen or to as well.maice with regards to how we determine our process, the federal agencies utilized to determine where it's fuel mitigation federalshould occur on or a cross boundary lines, what is the process? assumingrk -- i am your office's work with the land managers to help make these decisions. what more do we need to be doing to make sure that we are not just talking about good collaboration but that any impediments to that are removed? as we know, the fire doesn't know the boundary between lands or state or private lands. so what more do we need to be
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doing in this realm? >> thank you, senator. i will take a first go at this. i appreciate the perspective. that really is the articulation of cohesive strategy, that three national implementation principles use the strategies collectively across jurisdictions in a landscape scale exclusive to communities to comanage risks. to look at the risk factors in the entire landscape and what those values are. what no one agency can take on an activity that might transfer risk to others. prescribed fire is a perfect example. prescribed fire is often a very important tool, it is taking on short-term risk but to greatly reduce the long-term risk. >> translate that into real application, though. you have one agency that believes you should move forward
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with prescribed burns. but your community says no, this is a dangerous time of year to be doing that. we have high winds, the conditions on the ground, there is inherent tension between the desire of one agency and what you may have in another agency or at the community. >> thank you. mentions, hearing from some very state-level plans or federal level plans into community wildfire protection plans, we are -- our analytics are so improved that we can sit down together with different jurisdictions and community members and we can show the risk as mr. king suggested. our real-time analytics are so advanced, more than they were even five years ago, that that brings a collaboration principle for decision-making.
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>> let me interrupt. let me ask, are you satisfied that we really are integrating as we need to be? for the question, the topic, i know your time is short, but it is complicated. with it being complicated, the conversations that need to take place, engagement that needs to happen across all the jurisdictions, whether it is dealing with indian tribes, federal land, state land, all the other jurisdictions, it takes this level of personal engagement for everyone involved. can we approve -- improve? i think we can. we are making leaps and bounds from where we have been in the past. >> thank you, senator, i would agree with her. there are places in the country where we are very coordinated
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and there are places where there are challenges. >> hopefully we can learn from that. >> you want to have a lesson learned and learn from the mistakes in the past. one of the ways to help with the community peace in terms of getting communities to buy-in is to make sure the project actually do work and when they don't, there is payback. we can use those fuel breaks in the preparation they have taken, and equally importantly to the firefighters that are actually protecting. >> i think we saw that with the river fire. >> some of that is using technology. the joint fire science program is a key program that provides a lot of very good information to practitioners at the operational level. one project in alaska that program is working on at ua f -- , the shaded fuel break,
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the masticated fuel break, all of those actually are in different fuel types. confidence from a community at what you would recommend would work. >> senator cantwell? >> thank you, madam chair. the only thing you didn't say is enatchee is the apple capital of the world. when you think about apples and our economic output in that part of the state, it is about $2.5 billion a year. it is a big risk when fire impact it. they did a good job of explaining we are on the slope. one of the questions i have for the panel in this use of new technology -- because that is really what we are finding with these changes of conditions, that having eight and information can help us know when to go and when not to go -- i think we can all say there
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were probably incidents in the last two big fires we had in washington where people probably did add to the burn which was probably the wrong decision. the conditions were just too volatile. so my questions are, what do you think is the output? i know that when you were talking about house to house, literally, a community was at risk and one person had shrubs that were the key. theou go along and see people burned in these house would be saved. the people burned in these house would be saved. what do you think the risk will give you? monitor real-time , miss christiansen, if you or mr. rice want to comment on -- i don't understand why we have foreclosed on this water
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scooping contract with the forest service. one of the things we have learned is we, when you have hasty response, one of the best tools you have is to dump water on the sites so why would we be concluded we don't want to have that kind of capacity? if you could address those things? >> good question. the risk mapping has been aboutenal in informing us the characteristics as a fire approaches a city and gives us some idea on how to implement strategies along the structures. and so, two things. it tells us how to manage the landscape so that predictable fire behavior is what we understand will happen. -- for example, amber cass from the vegetation -- what devastation in the city
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do we expect a risk of structure loss. the number one strategy is you don't want any structures to go up. once the structures go up, you are into it. that is a whole different game. so it really demonstrates the importance, as i mentioned, of engaging the property owners, whether they are spread out into the wildland areas or into the city themselves to make sure and implement those practices to prevent that structure from going up. it also empowers the land managers, in the city or county, to implement the right type of fuel mitigation strategy so that , basically, the flames lay down for the get to the house. that. rice, do you support gps for firefighters? >> senator, great question and thank you for that. the way that we are looking at gps and the technology we are
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a litany of is options, numerous types of capabilities out there. we are looking at cost capability, whether we can how wey deploy it and manage that data on the back. so in terms of do we support looking at different options and we can actually come up with a solution that is beneficial to firefighters on really involvey all levels. >> i will come back with more clarity on that. miss christiansen, what do you make about the water using the scooping technology? why are we concluding that is not a good idea? >> thank you, senator cantwell. water scoopers are certainly a tool in our aviation strategy.
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concluded they are ineffective. proposedu know, in our fy 18 budget we had to make some critical choices. to be stewards of the taxpayer dollars. to that making, we are not planning to hold an exclusive use contract but can access call and needed mechanisms. useave two under exclusive contract. >> thank you, madam chair. >> sen. daines: and mark >> as has been already discussed earlier, vermont is experiencing a busy wildfire season. we have seen 1200 fires so far this year.
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as we speak, there are 31 fires burning across the state. yesterday, the top 10th national priority fires are all burning in montana. much of western montana is clouded by smoke. leading to unhealthy air quality for tens of thousands of montanans. hundreds are under evacuation all,s, and worst of trenton johnson, a 19-year-old from missoula, who was a sophomore at montana state university, my alma mater, he died while battling a fire. yesterday afternoon, we received word of another loss of life. we lost a firefighter while fighting the low-level peak fire. the name has not been released. our thoughts and prayers go to the families of these brave men and women. lives andtecting our property while risking their lives in these firefighters on
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the front lines. those appear to have been hit by falling trees. unfortunately, the national interagency fire center rates above average potential in montana. looking at the september maps, it shows the dire conditions look to continue. we are having discussions in early august that we would normally have in early september because we have a long way to go. need to address how we fund and prepare communities for wildfires and we need to -- recognize wildland firefighters for what they do and give injured firefighters lex ability in their retirement compensation. legislation cantwell and i have introduced will do that. it allows to use proven tactics to reduce the threat of wildfires near our montana communities and do what we can to limit the intensity of the fires during these times of
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higher potential. furthermore, we know that wildfires will never know the difference, as the ranking member and the chair just said, between forest service, blm, and private property so reducing fuel loads across boundaries is integral to reducing fire severity. on a phone call i had last night -- it seems like i am on the phone a lot -- with our county commissioners, our sheriffs it presents a risk to the
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firefighters. it just reminds us that we need to move forward. there's a bill we working on planning to introduce that has passed the house. called the electric, reliability protection act. passed the house 300-118 in june. it will speed up the process for removing hazardous fuels that adjacent to electrical infrastructure. when the fires are burning like this we can't get firefighters near it because it presents a risk to their lives. need to have that proactively ahead of time. we need to get at the heart of and showcasen advised collaboration. cross boundary work. communities will continue to be frustrated by lack of management wildfire ve in fear of wildfires. miss christianson, the creek burning in the
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stonewall vegetation management project. this area was identified by the forest service and local collaborative as an area in need and inorative treatment need of hazardous fuel reduction. was blocked through injunction due to the disastrous cottonwood decision. now we have intense wildfires 8000 acres. one can only wonder implementing the project without delay might have made a difference. infuriating. with the stonewall project anceived through collaborative project? to signorest service ting analysis in preparing the project? did.s, sir we >> after the injunction with the theewall project reduced area susceptibility to wildfire? this project i kept --
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certain.y for we have assessed. 90% of them tested by wildfire have changed the behavior of the fire. >> i'm out of time. i appreciate our secretary purdue as well as secretary zinke clear support of my legislation to undue the cottonwood.e we are together on this. wasobama administration supporting us in these effort. we'll keep fighting until it is into law. thank you. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all our witnesses. i think it is very clear that the system fighting fire in this country is a broken dysfunctional mess. going on. longest running battle. got an emergency wildfire ourgency declare by governor. we went with one approach.
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250 groups. groups, scientists, environmental folks all whom endorsed the legislation. i asked the chief a few weeks cost of inaction. the chief said it is millions of and we're out a billion dollars over a ten year period. this just cannot continue. what i like to ask is about a reflects fema,at the federal emergency management wildfiresid that changed landscapes so dramatically that communities them are at a significantly higher risk of flooding. weeks ago, banking introduced a flood incorporatesl that fix.dfire
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extentristensen to what does wildfires increase the risk device?trophic >> there isn't a association, senator. often on the catastrophic fires intensely burned soils.ey scar the water is not and to penetrate into the soil bed. why we have our bear process. >> you don't have difference of to femawith respect that the wildfires can cause a higher risk of flooding? has notdministration taken a position -- >> i ask you. >> yes. >> i'm asking about the science. fema is talking about the science. disagree with the science?
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>> no sir. >> thank you. one other question, chairman as matter for the record. put into theve record a support, letter of for the brown proposal. one last question. the obama administration supported finding an end to fire borrowing. more and more of the budget is used to pay for wildfires. leaving forest in poor health and at an even greater risk of wildfires.c i like to get the record. i don't think you all have been asked. is the trump administration's the obamathe same as administration's position on this? ending fire borrowing and finding a way to yearss the rising ten average? senators need to know whether the trump administration on that issue, is willing to support the
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obama administration? >> senator thank you. yes, the administration is absolutely committed to finding thelution addresses increasing ten year average as well as ends the practice of transfer. >> i'm going to say that you thety much in sync with obama administration on that. >> this administration supports the fire funding fix. >> you have a problem saying you're pretty much in sync with previous administration? i don't want to staff to start over. i want to work in a bipartisan way. say it's a continuation of as you issueted, long standing that we no needs resolve. >> thank you. >> senator lee. >> thank you mr. chairman. here. to all of you being miss christensen. suffered catastrophic
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70,000-acre wildfire in the dixie national forest in fire destroyed a homes.f 21 including 13 it also resulted a 13 day the nearby town of brianhead. two 13 numbers there. there's more than bad luck at here. i think there is some policy at at. that needs to be looked began tonead fire private land. residentssurprise to once the fire started it spread forest. dixie national which was soon engulfed in flames. localeard frequently from leaders in the area who described this entire area as a tinderbox. wildfire waiting to
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happen. so overrun withoove timber a this area was just full of hazardous fuels. magnitude in this but was as a result, all inevitable. largely because of poor management. mentioned that the forest milliontreats about two year of forestland each for hazardous fuel treatment. senator.million >> which is great that you treating three million. understanding only about 200,000 of that involves timber harvest. is that right? >> that's correct. >> i think this ought to be examined. in wildfirese
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prevention, this also carries other benefits with it as well. reliable, renewable source of income from a lot of these communities where there's lot of forestland. i consistently hear from county commissioners and other officials in my state and local thesents in many of affected areas. that forest management policies harder to harvest timber. so, as i amoing certain would have been the case result ind significant mitigation against s.e risk of wildfire what can you tell me? service doingrest or planning to promote timber a mutuallily beneficiary means of preventing wildfires and reducing hazardous fuels? the forest service is very
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committed and working theessively on increasing scale and the pace of our forest fuels treatment. we are working to streamline our environmental processes and working with others on new tools and ways to do that. the bottom line is the community engagement. collaboration early. purdue said it's a priority. we absolutely are on board that we engage communities that would be the environmental community, industry. jobs and livelihoods are depend dependent on forest resources. that's how we can get to an agreement. done in thehe work clearance. now, as you know, more and more of resources have gone to fighting. increasing ten year average has
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gone up. that's 270 million out of our nonfire budget that the forest no longer has available. we do have a resource constraint as well. we're both working on early collaborations, getting -- we andcommunities to buy in that we can support projects. efficiencies in our reviews.ntal with your help working on a long term fire funding fix so that we resources to do just what you said. >> with timber harvesting is part of that? >> absolutely. >> thank you very much. expired.s >> this is a question i will ask of different witnesses to comment on. wildfires burn across the country. action too take swift improve forest health and
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prevent another year of catastrophic wildfires is undeniable. as these fires become more frequent, more severe, more wildlife habitat is destroyed. is and watershed quality compromised and human life is threatened. requires acres immediate treatment. this number will continue to we don't approve active management. you additional tools do need to be more proactive in forest management and enhance cross-boundary coordination i believe is critical? >> thank you senator. looking across the department of the interior we have four bureaus. three have active timber , various sizes and scales. i have to gather from them and provide it to you for the record. but in general, the things that really improve and increase our on the ground is this
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notion of collaboration. our managers,g engage toleaders to boundary. cross >> thank you senator. i will say that the tools in 2014, good neighbor, authority and disease designations, those really been helpful because we look at the todscape scale, we're able work with our partners who has right timees at the whether it's state partner or tribal community. we're and to engagement. have few fixes we need and good neighbor authority cross boundarye authority and just in state and private. have able to easily authorities to work with our sometimes theyso
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can institute some leverage funds that we're able to give them. that's the thanks and let's keep on those >> anything you like to offer? say, categorical included. increase in the size of the inclusions will be helpful as discussioned. good neighbor authority is a strong tool that should be dramatically. it's really a co-management states andre the work the forest plans themselves, they're amended or updated need the timber management as way to achieve the objectives we are talking about here today. plans do not. >> miss christensen you repeated the statistics.
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480 million acres across the sort ofin need of some treatment. 480 million acres are in of catastrophic wildfire. the forest service meets their the for this year, are agencies going to treat only themillion of 480 million acres. i appreciate the barriers the facing landce is management ache eagencies are facing. overgrown address forest and wide swath of trees, the forest a ticking time bomb. just yesterday the national center, updated significant wild land fire forntial outlook amount august. of wyoming portion a above normal risk for catastrophic wildfire. how does groups like the howrnational fire center, do they factor goo the forest
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service's planning for future treatments? >> thank you senator. i definitely agree with your sentiment. just a slight correction. all 480 million acres of forest in the nation are at risk wildfire.ophic of that 94 million are national forest system land. this we still have big challenge as a nation. the analytics that we've been talking about risks and the projections that we have from researchers on the fire risk, we can tart to marry those better. weather is the factor that goes into the three month projections. unfortunately, they're not so good to be able to project out over a two year period. we do have projections where we have come from and where we think we will remain in drought
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and otherwise. the thanks to the additional has dozen fuel funds we're working with highestedictions where hazardous areas are and where there are state and federal and governments that are to get with us. these dollarsing out in a formula fashion. them really investing highest priority. chair.k you madam let me conclude by saying our forest is diverse ecosystems need immediate attention. sending overgrown stands and removing dead and down timber will reduce fire risk. spendingake sure we're federal dollars responsibly. i recognize coordination along local instate and agencies as a
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key to success. some offices duplicate functions. submit questions for the record. i look forward to hearing from you mr. rice from some of those responses. >> senator franken. >> thank you madam chair. outt of all, our hearts go to the two firefighters that in montana and hearts with their families. stillith those who are fighting. the forestid well of service. i have discussed the impact of climate change wildfire several times. as chief tidwell shared forest service scientists believe that climate change is
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one of the major factors in seasonsthe longer fire that we're seeing with wildfires and morelarger intense. fire seasons are now on average nearly 80 days longer than they were in 1970. wildfires burn twice as many in 1980day as they did first in 1970. disagree the panelist with the forest service scientist that climate change is driving longer and more intense fire seasons? anybody disagree? panelists disagree that we are seeing significant with fightinged fires? despite this administration attempt to deny climate science and muzzle experts we're seeing
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the impacts of climate change. we're seeing longer and more intense fire seasons. to our ecosystems and to our is driving upies costs. federal government will continue not takerse if we do the action. these increases in fire fighting costs are less funding for other programs. fire borrowing. has 39% fewer staff in nonfire positions today than it did less than 20 years ago. seriously impacting forest management in minnesota and elsewhere. impacting work to throughildfire risk .azardous fuels treatment
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miss christensen you say fuel save two to three fire avoided cost of fighters down the road. canyou talk about how it save money? >> thank you senator. yes. done indy is a study sierra, nervous watershed. hazardous spent on treatment could save two to cost ofllars of avoided fire suppression. due to a some other studies locally. the metrics might be slightly different. there is a breaking point where able to treat 20
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to 40 percent of a landscape believe are suppression costs will be reduced significantly. exposure to firefighters and all the other stuff -- canhe evidence is that it pay for itself or come close to paying for itself. than pay for itself. when chief tidwell came before the committee in june to defend we president's budget, discussed possibility of hazardous fuel management for projects orrgy combine heat and power plants. especially in the wild land interface. in minnesota, however, these plants are having trouble competing in the electricity markets. are there ways to incentivize use of hazardous fuels to generate electricity. can we recognize
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the co-benefit of wildfire risk reduction in these cases, landially on the wild urban interphase so we're not losing homes. onone have any thoughts this? this is something i think we can i i know the chairwoman and have sponsored combined heat and power. ways to do energy projects using hazardous fuels. anyone have any thoughts. >> senator, certainly alaska has bit of advantage because of coal climate. projects like that actually pay way. they don't need further incentives.
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it's primarily for space heating. we do a fuel mitigation work communities. the communities actually do the ork with sometimes nonprofit private business provide that fuel directly to the school that has other entity heating needs and these boilers theems provide the heat for community. there's 26 different buildings on a heat loop that are heated entirely from biomass town. the it's great example. there's only one example in alaska where electric is produced very low level that provides needs for the school operating.ilers is >> you can also use it to cool. electricity. in i know i'm out of time. i want to end with a comment. light of what miss christensen is saying, this clear and hazardous waste with for itself or more than pay
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for itself. somep of that, if we give incentives to do district projects ino energy urban interphase so we don't lose homes. it seems it's a win-win-win pip with the committee forward with that incentives to have those projects. you. >> thank you senator franken. i think the example of is given one.ry small very discreet and remote area. demonstrates the viability. look forward working with you. senator king. >> i never thought i would have a chance to share this bit knowledge. former state foresters smoky bear doesn't
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have a middle name. his middle name is not the. it's smoky bear. >> that is absolutely right. to clear that up. common misperception. never thought i will have a chance to get that straight. ask for someto research. iton't know exactly where should be. frequency fire and and extend across the nation. climate andfor species. have -- getting at, we -- most forests state in the country. forestrylked to my people in maine, they say the solution is very clear. our forestland is privately owned and it's intensively managed. in the west, it's mostly owned and it's not
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very intensively managed. not enough forestry being practiced. i like to see some data that either very if i -- verify it. or refute i think that will be interesting can controlce things like climate and species oftry to isolate the issue intensity of forest management as playing a role. read is that the real problem in the west is too much fuel. much fuel. will benefit and i believe we will have see less forest fire. is one thatefighter doesn't occur. researchelp us on the here?
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appreciateking, i your observations. i do have any research in my back pocket to share with you. do understand -- we can certainly look at that. have something. i was a former state forester for 30 years of the state of the state ofd arizona. i partnered with the forest --vice for my >> you probably know my former susan bell.unam >> yes i do. me abouts one who told smoky bear. >> my point is, our research that there's 480 million acres across the nation forest. about 773 million acres of forest in this nation that some kind of risk of wildfire.ristic
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94 million acres are national forest system atlanta. that are other lands at risk. but the practices of fuels that relatesd how to wild land fire risk in particular ecosystems and terrain and fire weather we do have think studies about that. not necessarily comparing maine u.s.e western >> maine and new england generally. a look. have >> i think if you could isolate are, itt the factors would be important. verify what myr foresters in maine and private sector have been telling me for years or not. it may be part of what we need to be talking about here is down some of the barriers to more intensive sustainable forestry on western lands. have. all i
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thank you. >> thank you senator cortez. on that.low up senator from nevada. just had thisnd i race. about -- in nevada, is one of the most in the united states. it is a fuel for the fires that seeing. in particularly now in the state of nevada when we had an pack.ible snow we had now beautiful green hill and mountains, now it's dry and it's turning into fuel. what we're seeing in the wildfires in what you saw on map in northern nevada. oft talk about this cycle fire in cheek grass. you senator.
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usingates that are incredibllyre fragile and diverse ecosystems we have throughout the great basin. what happens from where i'm at, wildfires how interacts and that environment without cheek grass. it would be the natural break. it's not a continue use field that grows. fil actually grown up and filled the gap. this carriering fuel -- carrying fuel that perpetuate wildfires in the interior wef the spent last several years prior to this role, focusing on priorities in the great basin addressing cheek grass.
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isterm -- i can talk about desoto fire. there's a whole myriad of are beingns that tested so we can learn what we address the grass problem. it's not necessarying the -- fire problem.e it is cutting back on the resources necessary to engage in of management to prevent these fires that we're seeing. >> to look at the budget, the we allocate across bureaus, there's four
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bureaus. we start looking externally with our partners, counties, where we'rein areas addressing issues with the forest service. have to makee tradeoffs. >> that's my concern. well know, nevada over 70% is managed by a federal agency. the interaction between those federal agencies and state and local agencies it's so important how we manage this. will always be tearing down any of barriers and practices to make sure we're doing the most that we can to protect that land and prevent wildfires and giving you the resources a you need. that's something that i will be cognizant about. i'm running how of time. let me just touch on one other thing. up in northern nevada, nevada is one of the the uav's.esting of
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stead reno airport. actually there, while they were to manage drones able the cameras and interact and drones.the incredible. they're working with fire services to bring new technology assistance in fire management. are theous what barriers. what barriers are you seeing the federal travel prevent us from or firefighters using that new technology? >> thank you senator. uas unmanned aircraft system and how we're integrating them. first step we've cleared this hurdle is working with the f.a.a. and to have clearances the required codes and different things need to fly in of situations.
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the other areas that we're addressing is having to train pilots. one type of data are we capturing and how we're managing that on the back-end. piece a i would add to it, as we're looking at new technologys operations,rent it's plug and play but it's not plug, play and replace right away. instances, where we have man order piloted aircraft or people or we're moving equipment with piloted stop one anddon't begin another. layer ofds to be a overlap to make sure we have the testing right and reach and in place.t our number one priority is to ensure safety of firefighters taken care of in those operations. there's that overlap time
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whether that's one one fire season to get it right and of those assets. christensen i'm interested in the role that this plays. cost ratio is as much as 35 to one. wildfire note that, risk is very high in hawaii. think so.e may not greater percentage of forestland area is subject to high risk of wildfire tan the 16 western u.s. states. it's a huge issue for us. wildfires are caused by human action but in hawaii it's 98%. obviously educating people to -- to prevent.nt way
11:38 am me for example, there are programs that we can have for children. get them educated at a young age. national park service in san everyo a program called kid in the park. can enabled whole new generation of young people to understand importance of our public land. i'm wondering whether you have the forest service youth programs a would educate on wildfire prevention. maybe something like every kid wildfire programs in 2019. what are your thought on people?g young >> let me try to be brief. robust conservation
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program in the forest service. is -- it aligns with smoky bear fire prevention program. have absolutely have tiering groups we to. have tool kits for teachers.d it will take you to discover the website. it's another website that we manage. not just to get folks to nationalnal forest or park. discover a forest where you're at. urban area're in an there are many opportunities.
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>> i'm glad in you're doing that. collaborate with state and other stakeholders, do you these tools being extensively or every state? >> yes. smoky bear, we're co-parents. we're co-parents for smoky bear 73 they have access to all the programs. have a joint council that s smoky. tory kid in the park it was celebrate certainly national park centennial but all the have offeredies the same path. work to not have the
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public or children know boundaries. connecting to their resources. >> i'll check with our hawaii to how extensively they're utilizing these tool. question about hazardous fuels. mr. rice. you note importance of hazardous fuel management, specifically identifying how control invasive problem in is a huge hawaii. my question is, you did note use of technology during wildfire events, can you department's use of fireology to identify prone, invasive species for removal before a wildfire starts? we have a lot of invasive including aawaii lot -- they are hazardous fuels wildfires
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>> thank you senator. lookingi would begin by at this. over the last year, department of interior, bureaus within the department, there's been hundreds of flights of uas's been for various activities. testing oneen capabilityings others have been elevation,data mapping, infrared. just the different types of sensors that can go with it. it's been used, it hasn't been deployed full heartedly. within the department of the aviationthere's an office my counterpart director there is leading the development all of those activity. they are executed by each of the bureau. management, land national park service and fish thewildlife service, across board. >> i should check to see whether
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dronesnmanned or these being used in hawaii to identify invasive pieces will be fire hazard? >> i will be happy find out the specifics. >> thank you very much. >> i appreciated the question senator cortez about the uav's and on the recognize that still, you got technological issues that you dealing with. as i understand, testimony,ee year mr. maichp. toteries take two hours recharge. 3dr solo has a range of half mile maximum endurance 20 minutes up. to range a sight
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which means you can only do this the day. in alaska in the summertime we of 24 hours up there. but in other places you have more limited application. also, when you're in the thick ina fire, it's pretty dark there with smoke. this, thegoing with within -- within this exciting area of uav's we needth to push some of this out and it more.llow us to do i'll direct this question to you dr. miller. engaged in the research in addition to uav systemsetter allow us greater
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opportunity. what else is out on the horizon there. mapping.oned the thatis new and innovative can be utilized another tool if the tool box? colleaguesy an nancy french recently won award they'll make sure there's connectivity for the team.ghters and bear they'll have mobile to create to get all the new information that's coming in. my looking forward to eyeing database with uav's. earth observation data from satellites. don't recall who made mention that we have these infrared cameras that are in .lace i think of the alaska example.
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which is so huge. we're so big. in terms ofg millions of acres rather than thousands. mentioned the internet and the connectivity that's a dream for us. these remote areas where fires. with the what more can you do? hope that you put these sensors or these cameras gethe right place and lucky. mentioned ms. christensen nine out of ten forest fires started pi -- by man. can pinpoint those out spots. fires alaska, most of our are lightning strikes. this goingdo you see mr. maich. >> i'll give you an example in oklahoma. oklahoma is working with the
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in geol weather service 16 satellite. you potential size. it gives you coordinates and probability of error. still very new effort and there happen to be a state that's nws.ering that there could be application for in other locations. for the refined and the algorithms to do the detections are refined and tested. another example is in cal fire. they have a great application. an app that's available to improve public safety. it came out this year. a member ofster as the public to be notified in your county if there's an need to beat you made aware of this. it's like reverse 911. an application. to track you if you traveling around state of
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california, it will send you notices more any areas that might have an incident that's unfolding. there. newly to out lot of it's just pushing it out to the agency so they can start eyeing it -- using it. working with the f.a.a. and dealing with the whole line issue, do we have greater latitude in alaska our uav center of excellence up on the north slope? have gotten permission to do testing that is beyond line of sight. are we able it utilize any of a uav's that we're using to help us address the fire issues. >> yes, to answer your question, we are still restricted that of sight. outcan kind of tear it
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further if you have someone a can observe the uav and back to the pilot. that's how we're doing it currently. people that will involve to become more comfortable with the safety aspects with using of tools.s >> lot going on. mr. race? add,nator what i would f.a.a. weather cams all through alaska, being a numerousdid this times. you need to see what's going on the path. you go back into anchorage. of example exist all across the country. whether it's street cams, cams.tional being able to learn those anferent data streams is need to explore.
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other place within some of the agencies, especially in army havetment of smartphone devices. smart phone software that allows data sharing rapidly. right now it's on android base. iphone and other types of phones. that's another example of ways can start managing technology better building off investment. >> thank you. i'm going to have to go to the floor. vote coming up quickly. i'll ask senator king to close and give you all my appreciation. know that we want to work with these issuesress management and how we deal with our wildfires around the nation. you.
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>> thank you. mr. rice i want to follow up on director of office of wild land fire and your comments just now about use of technologies out there. i'm aware of this u.s.a. today by robert will about u.s. wildfire service presented fromdid -- i'm reading article, presented second annual safety award to bart wry who was -- he helped firefighter to safety during a prescribed fire. to fire crew on foot to carry gps transmitter collars like those worn by hunting dogs so that up to ten resources can be tracked a burn boss on a device.and receiver if this is available today and mr. he said about the these why not combine technologies today to give
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firefighters more safety and just these they deal unbelievable conditions that can change so quickly. idea.ator, it's a good when secretary came on board, we through fire havetions a and how we incident command system, one of the first things that he said to me was, figure out how to keep of our firefighters in a better way. at. something we're looking the reference earlier question about supportive of looking at it. we don't know what that right tool is yet. any number of tens of thousands of firefighters that can be out in the field during a fire season, we want to have the right solution. anybodylug and play for that shows up on a fire. nomax that shows up. technology to be
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interoperable. >> given in fire map and where is just so scary. now i can see that it's further into eastern washington and then map that was out a few months ago. people said to you, you're going to be at the epicenter. boy, were we. with this level of the west under these -- if it's why not so easy to go get some now, why and thethe flexibility suggestion for this fire season be there? all i'm saying is, the reason i'm coming back to you on this, if your first answer, it's kind going to look at it and see what we can do. these as you said, are toolses put in place today. voluntarily wet give the okay for the these to used.
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u.s. fish and wildlife service award for received an the innovation of it. saw that the reason i'm working with senator i came to the senate after the storm that killed so many people. have the 30-mile fire which killed several individuals in our state. in life two years ago, it's just a reminder that out ofonditions can get control so quickly. so helpfulwould be to us. also helpful in attacking the fire as well.he knowing we can pull back or knowing when to use other resources to attack it. what about right now just moving basis ton voluntary
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might sure that's clear to people. if they wish to they can? is being used. not being clear. we do have folks in fish and wildlife service in the national service in the about ou bureauf land management that are using technology. we're learning from that. and looking at different ways we it across the enterprise. preclude our staff from using them. >> anybody can use them now. we can use them in the northwest we wanted to? >> the staff that are local will work through their local office. this leads to a broader question, at the department empower our line officers to make decisions in the field. order to do that -- >> it got so bad, we called out guard.ional we were taking volunteers from -- we had not done that in our a long
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ms. christensen worked on that before. listen, northwest loves technology and it loves to keep pushing the envelope. hold us back to getting mar marketplace.e thank you. senator king. set.m all i wanted to thank the witnesses. thank you for your work. to continuing to work on this problem with you. appreciate it. follow up?cortez any >> do i like to thank all having and chair for this hearing so timely. as we said at the beginning we resources% of our this map says it all. have to keep ahead of this changing conditions which are giving us more volatile, more really economic and human loss to our nation that we need to deal with. for your all
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innovative idea. we're adjourned.
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been activedent has on twitter. he said our relationship with washington is at an all time and low.dangerous you can thank congress the same usple that can't give healthcare. warner which is investigating russian meddling responded. tweeted, or you can thank russian dictator putin thanked u.s. election undermines western alliances, invaded ukraine an annexed cry mia. we'll hear more from president trump today. virginia.n west
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his rally is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. eastern. on c-span. it live >> i was hoping to get transportation in 2001. my whole background was newell trade and transportation. i was a transportation banker years.umber of bank of america. i worked for transportation companies. whole basket was in transportation. it's nice to return to field which i had worked previously. able to be back in a department that i'm familiar. interview with chao. friday on c-span. >> up next on c-span, discussion from the ati


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